Essays

Happy Diwalidays!  This is a page of many discussions, to maybe strike sparks with my friends so they will discuss right back.  To email me from here, use empeejaxon@gmail.com.

The page begins with the newest comment.  Older comments are either in the general discussions just after "The newest" immediately below, or in the political comments at the end of the page, here.

(For older essays, go here, and for older discussions of books go to books.)


The newest, Political and General

Political:  Dodger Don -- dodges the draft, dodges his taxes, dodges his job -- is there anything that Don the Con won't dodge?  9/29/20

General:  America has fallen from grace.  As proof, I offer the fact that we never got to see Tim Conway do a reading of My Grandfather's Old Ram.  5/23/20


General discussions


I've quit Consumer Reports after being a reader ever since the magazine began.  It's helped me in many purchases, but seems to have lost its way.  Here's what made me leave:  from a current article reviewing a $215,000 [!] car, "The front seats are fabulous ....  These supple, intricately stitched perches are a definite high point of the SUV. When you sit down, they give your bottom a tender little squeeze."  I'm outa here.  5/12/20

An annoying book jacket blurb writer almost kept me from what is to all accounts a good book:  An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon.  The book opens "Aster removed two scalpels from her med-kit ...."  Nothing stunning about that, either way.  But the jacket's blurb about the author:  "they currently live ... with their family."  In other words, the author is willing to write a story that will not be annoying with every pronoun, but the publisher saddled the author with a blurb writer who doesn't have enough sense not to betray the author, and give readers the impression of entering into an ultra-correct book by a very up-to-date faddist.  If I were in a bookstore and read that blurb, I would slam down the book.  The author didn't write "Aster removed scalpels from their med-kit," and the blurb writer, they are an idiot.  12/31/19


This holiday season has worn me out.  Over three-quarters of a century putting up with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years has done frazzled me.  I hereby declare that next year all season long I will just wish people Happy Diwalidays!  "A celebration of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil" -- you know, the way America used to be.  And it's ecumenical; see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali . 12/26/19


The New Tribes missionary organization (now known as Ethnos360 -- a high-sounding but nondescriptive name, basically meaning a bunch of people who act or think or appear alike; unflatteringly, a gang or pack) got some national attention in February 2019, attention which was overdue.  A report of the group's history of child sexual abuse is at NBC -- see https://www.nbcnews.com/news/religion/ungodly-abuse-lasting-torment-new-tribes-missionary-kids-n967191 -- which talks about the slowness of response by "the authorities" to the sexual abuse.  Reluctance to pick up the story is persistent; almost ten years ago this writer covered some of the same ground in this report from McNeal, Arizona: http://littlebigdog.net/New%20Tribes%20In%20McNeal%20Arizona%20Can%20Reform%20Itself.htm .  All this time, the survivors of child abuse have been hoping for justice.  Someday, perhaps sooner rather than later, "the authorities" will not shrug off such matters because the perps operate under the cloak of religion.  12/20/19


Ain't it too easy for this to be true of most of us? At the end of Chapter 4 of The Once And Future King, a sentence published about 80 years ago, about Sir Kay when he and Arthur were children: Kay "was one of those people who would be neither a follower nor a leader, but only an aspiring heart, impatient in the failing body which imprisoned it." White was barely over thirty when he wrote that.  10/25/19



Let's assume that violence in a population follows a standard normal distribution, and let's look at people so violent that they go on a shooting spree. In the USA, there are roughly 100 such people a year. That's about one in 3.5 million, which makes such violence about 5 sigma above average. If the average went up by .1 sigma, then such violence would be 4.9 sigma up; that's about one in 2 million people -- say 175 people in the USA, "only" about a 75% increase. If the average went up 1 sigma, then such violence would be just 4 sigma up, and about 1 in 30,000 people in the USA would reach that level -- about 12,000. This is the direction we're headed. It would be nice to have a president who was trying to damp down violence, instead of encouraging it.  9/4/19


Horrible, horrible, horrible.  I just read a novel about our country's future, if its falling apart continues.  It's a futuristic novel from 1993, by Jack Womack:  Random Acts Of Senseless Violence.  An indispensable punch in the gut to build understanding of where Trump's road naturally leads.  8/25/19


An interesting day for stories about imposing politics on knowledge.  First, the New School administration has decided not to punish a teacher for quoting James Baldwin, in a class on James Baldwin.  A white student was offended by Baldwin's words, and complained that it was racism to say what Baldwin said.  See:
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/aug/19/professor-who-quoted-james-baldwin-n-word-cleared-by-university-laurie-sheck
Note that the Guardian believes that outside of class, it's still racism to quote Baldwin in a discussion of his own words.
    Second, apparently the best textbook on anatomy was produced by Nazis who murdered Jews and used the corpses to make the anatomical drawings.  See:
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-49294861
The best surgeons use the book -- but in old copies, because no publisher will print it, because of its vicious origins.
    Putting these two stories together, it seems to me that it's better to admit our evil deeds and nature, and do the best we can with what we are, than to try to suppress our past accomplishments because we're ashamed of what we were.  8/19/19



The mother of exiles -- that's what American children learned when we were the world's chief defender of freedom, when our president did not pal around with murderous dictators:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Go, visit New York City, visit the Statue of Liberty, spit on it, and vote for Trump.  7/20/19


Plagiarism of a false story: the "ten cannots," college professors, and Abraham Lincoln

Once again, a plagiarized version of a false story is circulating on the internet: the "ten cannots" (not carrots, cannots).  Let's untangle all the threads of this lie.
        Start with President Lincoln.  In 1864, the New York Workingmen's Democratic Republican Association asked Lincoln to be an honorary member.  On March 21, he wrote a letter of acceptance, including: "the existing rebellion [is] a war upon the rights of all working people....  The strongest bond of human sympathy, outside of the family relation, should be one uniting all working people, of all nations, and tongues, and kindreds.  Nor should this lead to a war upon property, or the owners of property.  Property is the fruit of labor - property is desirable -- is a positive good in the world.  That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprize.  Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built."
        Jump to William John Henry Boetcker.  He was born in Germany in 1873, and came to America in 1891.  He enrolled in a seminary, and became a minister in 1897.  In 1902, at a German Presbyterian Church in Indiana, he opposed labor unions; the resulting fuss led to his leaving the ministry and working for businesses to ease their relationships with labor, and later starting his own business of publishing and lecturing.  When Hitler happened, Boetcker was somewhat taken with him.  In 1936, he was a US delegate to a German "world congress" emphasizing how well Hitler treated workers, and as to World War II, he was an isolationist.  He remained a public figure long after the war.  He died in 1962.
        In 1916, Boetcker wrote a pamphlet called "The Ten Cannots."  His "cannots" were published in the following form in 1942:
                "You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
                "You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
                "You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
                "You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
                "You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
                "You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
                "You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
                "You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
                "You cannot build character and courage by destroying men’s initiative and independence.
                "You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves."
        But the 1942 publication attributed Boetcker's "cannots" to Lincoln.  The publication was by a business group opposing President Roosevelt.  Attributing the "cannots" to Lincoln gave them more weight than attributing them to isolationist Boetcker; but it can't be proved that the false attribution was intentional.
        In any case, the attribution has stuck; examples are all over the internet.  Lincoln's March 21, 1864, letter is the closest he ever came to saying anything like the "ten cannots."  So the attribution isn't just false in letter, it's false in spirit.
        And the "ten cannots" have a life of their own.  Sometimes they "ten cannots" are plagiarized without attributing them to anyone, and are simply inserted into stories about college teachers, and so on, teaching a class the lessons in Boetcker's "cannots."  The latest example I've seen adapts a 1984 version into an anti-Obama post.
        It's a shame that the internet is so easily used to distribute plagiarism and falsities.  I'm not the first person to track down the truth about the "ten cannots."  But they just keep spreading.  6/19/19


"Lumpenprosetariat" -- It's a fine morning here in Sierra Vista.  I woke up ready to get to work in the yard again, even though my sacroiliac is popping and my back muscles are hurting from the strain of a lot of manual labor yesterday, lugging concrete blocks around.  So I picked up a big thick novel to help wake me up.  I won't say its name, out of respect for the work the author put into writing it.  But oh, it is deadly dull prose, lumpy, joyless, clunked together about as well as I handled concrete blocks yesterday.  Prosetariat -- lumpenprosetariat -- that's the word that came to me for the authors who write semiliterate prose just because they can get away with it.  I Googled and found no examples of prosetariat, except as typos for proletariat.  And sloppy, ignorant, lumpy, just plain bad writing is getting more numerous, so its authors deserve a word of their own.  Lumpenprosetariat it is.  You're welcome.  5/3/19


Laying around absorbed by superstition and fighting and partying and gossiping, I call "village living."  It's an easy, comfortable way to live, perpetual childhood.  That's how our species lived for 99.9% of its existence.  The species accidentally accumulated useful facts one at a time.  A few hundred years enough knowledge had accumulated so that scientific thinking could develop; when it did start, it got such good results that it spread like wildfire, even into non-technological fields.  Call this "scientific living."  It's been around for roughly 1/10 of 1% of our species' existence.  But scientific living is hard.  Most humans want to use the benefits of science merely to make village living more comfortable.  --  That's the essence of a short essay I wrote in 2015.  Since then we've acquired a president who is uneducated, stupid, afraid of reality, a liar, a lout, a bully to all who do not kneel to him.  And 2 in 5 Americans kneel to him.  Other countries are heading into the swamp too.  Maybe history hasn't been a march of progress, only a fluke, and we are regressing to the mean.  4/29/19


A novel published in 1940, and pretty obscure now:  If It Prove Fair Weather, by Isabel Paterson.  It's very hard for me to follow, since almost every sentence by the protag is followed by a page or so of the protag's internal thoughts about what was said.  That's my problem, and it's worth solving, for things like this:  on p. 93 of the 1940 2nd printing, the book talks about "the attraction of public life and external power for mediocre souls, small minds; and their morbid, unceasing demands for the applause of the multitude, their need to be noticed at all costs; so that an emperor is uneasy if a scullion fails to gape at him.  The fact that other people have their separate being and may continue to exist without us, appears as a kind of treason."  4/28/19


Nell Freudenberger's novel Lost And Wanted, p. 89:  "There is a certain kind of person -- usually male, but not always -- who makes physics into a hobby, who reads all the popular books and makes an honest effort to understand.  Sometimes all these people want to do is show you how much they know, but many of them ... are really curious.  It doesn't have to do with education, necessarily; there are just some people who get pleasure from considering abstract questions about forces and technology."  Until that passage, all I knew was that I was reading a good story about intelligent people; upon finding that passage, I knew I was home.  4/14/19

The country of Nigeria has 36 states, like America's 50.  For Nigeria's election on Feb 16, the country's Electoral Commission "has increased the number of new registered voters by almost exactly the same percentage across all states.... by 2.2% between April 2017 and January 2018, and by 7.7% for the whole registration period .... there is a 0.99 correlation across all the states, without a single outlier.  According to three separate data analysts, the parity cannot be a coincidence" (from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/15/revealed-nigerian-voter-data-is-statistically-impossible ).  The analysts are right; the figures are cooked, and the election will be a fraud.  --  A personal note from a small sample of studies in different fields.  During grad school in meteorology, I found, based on statistics, that some weather reports from Ecuador showed an impossible history; the teacher followed the math and we worked up a simple paper which was published.  On the other hand, during grad school in history, I pointed out to one teacher, based on statistics, that an incredible pro-Napoleon vote had to be crooked; the Napoleonolator teacher got enraged at the very thought.  That's how science differs from politics.  Good luck to Nigeria.  In America, unlike Nigeria, we do have an outlier:  Trump.  He's out lying all the time.  Good luck to America.  2/15/19


Personal Pleasures, by Rose Macaulay.  To show you how little I know, I hadn't even heard of her before seeing a recommendation of this book.  What joy in writing, short essays to go to sleep or even wake up to (see the essay "Bed," 1. Getting into it and 2. Not getting out of it.)  Wonderful comic stuff.  A lot more is available at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/3869 , and I'm sure to get more of her work on paper.  12/26/18

The beginning of an article about animal behavior and possible animal consciousness, or something "consciousness-like" -- at https://aeon.co/essays/inside-the-mind-of-a-bee-is-a-hive-of-sensory-activity -- argues that "'maybe we misdiagnose animal brains as having machine-like properties simply because we understand how machines work – whereas, to date, we have only a fragmentary and imperfect insight into how even the simplest brains process, store and retrieve information.  However, there are now many signs that consciousness-like phenomena might exist not just among humans or even great apes – but that insects might have them, too."  The hyphenated "consciousness-like" is a weasel word, aimed at giving up any ground that contrary evidence disproves, while still maintaining that in the territory not yet captured, there is a "magic island" where a Holy Grail exists; it's an application of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy.  The article does have a lot of interesting behavioral data.  But the end of the article says "Despite the wonders of unconscious processing, it’s obvious that no human being can nourish herself, escape predation, reproduce, engage in a social life or find the way to a new destination when she is not conscious of a world outside her own body."  The word "obvious" is another weasel word, aimed at suppressing the lack of evidence for a "magic island."  Actually, what's obvious is that people do complicated tasks every day without being conscious of the world; this is a large part of many drivers' commuting trips.  We drive in a trance; and the ability to take complex action in a trance is the opposite of evidence that consciousness is necessary for complex action.  12/7/18

I love math -- especially the work that wasn't even thought of fifty years ago, and depends on advances in digital technology:  "As Mr. Gottesman crumpled, he scanned each sheet into his computer, and then, with an algorithm, he measured the sum total of all the creases."  Rational thought rules, even when we can't do it with our unassisted brains.  See https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/26/science/crumple-paper-math.html .  11/27/18

Writer Pamela Frankau described America as "the place where umbrage grew wild....  Never, surely, were so many offended so easily by so little."  11/24/18

I recently bought a sci fi anthology, Year's Best SF 14 (from 2009), just for one story:  "Exhalation," by Ted Chiang, a stunning riff on real science; it's the kind of thing that appeals to the old math major in me, a rarity these days.  Then another story grabbed me too, "Cheats," by Ann Halam; outstanding, about video gamers.  I'm so stuck in science fiction's past that it's rare for me to like anything dated after 2000, so finding two such in one book was a happy surprise.  11/23/18

November 22, 2018, marks 55 years since JFK was assassinated.  In 2013, I was stunned that 50 years had passed.  The sorrow doesn't grow less with time.  11/21/18

In Louis Armstrong's book Satchmo:  My Life In New Orleans (the Sierra Vista library's paperback edition), two passages jumped out at me.  On p. 177, "no matter how tough an ofay may seem, there is always some 'black son of a bitch' he is wild about and loves to death just like one of his own relatives."  I'll have to chew on that as I reflect on American history.  On p. 179, "If a person is real ignorant and has no learning at all that person is always going to be jealous, evil and hateful.  There are always two sides to every story, but an ignorant person just won't cope with either side."  I'll have to chew on that as I look at the American present.  11/21/18

Combat hurts survivors:  see https://aeon.co/essays/how-do-soldiers-live-with-their-feelings-of-guilt -- and what a burden of guilt will reveal itself in later years, to the drone pilots who sit in the United States and kill around the world.  I'm not criticizing them; they are under orders that are legitimate and investigated as thoroughly as possible.  They are not under orders to commit atrocities.  But collateral damage is always a risk and often occurs.  What a self-torturing old age for themselves we are making these troops build.  11/17/18

"Liberals look forward to the adventure of the future, conservatives imagine safety in the past" is a way-too-simple version of chapters 12+ of Robert Sapolsky's 2017 book Behave.  But the thought does suggest that liberalism is more of a survival trait. On that theme, here's a passage from Arnold Bennett's prescient essay The Rising Storm Of Life, way back in 1907:  "the great storm of life is rising, the clouds gathering, the winds moaning ere they scream....  It is going to be the greatest storm that that ocean has ever witnessed.  Nobody knows, not even the wisest of us, what will be the end of it -- what craft will founder and what will ride the gale.  It may, nevertheless, be positively said that those will stand the best chance who put out to sea, the open sea, and rejoice openly in the tempest, accepting it, braving it, and trusting it.  And those will stand the worst chance who obstinately pretend that there isn't a storm, or that it will blow over quickly, and who lay up in a cove and drop anchors....  I  do not predict the issue of the storm, but I can surmise the fate of anchored vessels."  Best to adapt to the storm, not hide from it.  5/28/18


Politics


Remembering the pix of the KKK, in pretty sheets, marching down Pennsylvania Avenue in the 1920s, I wondered if the Republican presidents of the era praised and appealed to the KKK, the way Rump now praises and appeals to "Q" conspiracy theories. The KKK was at its most popular then -- several millions of dues paying people, in a much smaller America. But Harding and Coolidge rejected the KKK. Here, for example, are parts of a speech that Coolidge gave in 1925 to the American Legion (!) in Omaha (whose courthouse still has bullet scars from a 1919 lynching):
... "If we are to have that harmony and tranquillity, that union of spirit which is the foundation of real national genius and national progress, we must all realize that there are true Americans who did not happen to be born in our section of the country, who do not attend our place of religious worship, who are not of our racial stock, or who are not proficient in our language.... it will be necessary to regard these differences as accidental and unessential. We shall have to look beyond the outward manifestations of race and creed. Divine Providence has not bestowed upon any race a monopoly of patriotism and character.
... "The generally expressed desire of 'America first' can not be criticized.... But the problem which we have to solve is how to make America first. It can not be done by the cultivation of national bigotry, arrogance, or selfishness.... Because there are other peoples whose ways are not our ways, and whose thoughts are not our thoughts, we are not warranted in drawing the conclusion that they are adding nothing to the sum of civilization. We can make little contribution to the welfare of humanity on the theory that we are a superior people and all others are an inferior people."
(For the full speech, see https://www.coolidgefoundation.org/resources/speeches-as-president-1923-1929-4/ )
So it turns out that Rump is the only Republican president to sink so low as to appeal to crazy racist theories. A hundred years ago, Republican presidents resisted that temptation. Rump is a new low for the GOP. Shame.  8/20/20


Rump says if Biden wins the election, Americans will all have to learn Chinese.  What's Rump babbling about? Rump's been owned by Putin a long time without having to learn Russian.  Come to think of it, Rump became pr*sident without even learning English.  8/11/20


1864, the middle of the Civil War. 1932, the Depression at its worst. 1944, the middle of World War II. 1968 and 1972, Vietnam at its worst. We had elections. Now, 2020, a fascist wants to stay president for life. We'll have the election.  7/30/20

Sometimes I don't know which Rump wants more, to dominate us or to kill us. To dominate: Rump is beginning his expanded plan to dominate in Portland OR, where federal agents under his direct control are grabbing citizens off public streets, keeping them in the federal courthouse basement for a day or so, then turning them out, all with no paperwork; in other words, the secret police are here. The locals want Rump to stop, but he's refusing. To kill: The latest Rump action about Covid is to ignore an authoritative report about what to do next in "red zones," including reversing reopening measures in 18 states. The response of Rumplings so far: haven't read it. It does seem as if the sheeple here are the Rumplings, who in effect are saying "Please, my God Emperor, dominate me, kill me, I love your pursuit of happiness more than I love my life and liberty." For some reason, these people seem sick to me.  7/17/20

The right of religious freedom, and of citizens not to have to pay to support any religion, has long been under attack by the religious right, and the attack has recently been succeeding in the Supreme Court. In 2017, the Court ruled that if a local government gave grants to public schools to resurface playgrounds, then the grants must also be given to religious schools. And today the Court ruled, 5-4, that if a state funnels money to private schools, then it must also funnel money to religious schools:  https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/18-1195_g314.pdf .  The key to the majority opinion is "A State need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious." The majority really strained to reach that opinion, because long before the case got to the Court, Montana had eliminated the entire subsidy program, so no Court decision was necessary. But the majority decided that the program had been eliminated for the wrong reasons, so the majority issued its ruling anyway. Now, I don't think you can discuss the case with any authority unless you read the entire decision, including all concurrences and dissents. In any case, there's an easy way for any state to not support religious schools: don't subsidize private schools at all.  6/30/20

How construe Rump's letting Putin put a bounty on the heads of American soldiers, except as Rump's being willing to trade American soldiers' lives in return for Putin's help in stealing the election?  Rump probably thought he could suppress the deal just by not commenting on the intelligence in his morning briefing.  But now the PDB telling Rump what Putin was doing is available for all to see.  It's judgment day for Rump.  He has no defense but more transparent lies.  Can we just cut to the treason trial now?  And to Martha McSally, our appointed senator:  If you don't disavow Rump for this, you will be showing, despite your posing otherwise, how little you really care about our troops, compared to Rump's cowardly career.  Be an American again, not a worshipper of God Emperor Rump. 6/29/20

Many people are asking if Rump has syphilis. A man came up to me the other day and asked Sir, does the president have syphilis, or does he just look like it? I said, I don't care if Rump has a social disease, he IS a social disease.  6/14/20

In towns throughout the Pacific Northwest, including Coquille OR, Boise ID, and Coeur d'Alene ID, unknown racists recently spread rumors that "antifa" agitators with guns were going to come in and take over the town. This incited "anti-antifa" mobs of hundreds of people to show up in these towns with assault rifles ready. But the rumors were all false. There was no "antifa" assault. The only mobs were the gullible "anti-antifa," and to me, they look just like the mob in a photo taken 101 years ago in Omaha. This is what any mob looks like when it assembles to keep an oppressed class down. This is what our president's policies will lead to, if you let them.

6/4/20

It seems to me that during Covid, many people are focusing only on their own rights, and are ignoring the safety of others. It's a race to the bottom.  Mark Twain wrote "Diligently train your ideals upward and still upward toward a summit where you will find your chiefest pleasure in conduct which, while contenting you, will be sure to confer benefits upon your neighbor and the community."  5/24/20


Sometimes you can hear the gears squeaking in the thing-that-passes-for-a-brain in the skull of the World's Fattest 244-pound "man."  The God Emperor now says that it's not his fault he can't supply enough Covid masks, because the people who get them just keep asking for more.  A gear turns:  "It makes Me look bad if they don't have all the masks they ask for, so they're asking for more only to make Me look bad."  Another gear turns:  "If they're asking for more only to make Me look bad, then they don't really need masks at all.  Masks are not important!  Hooray for Me for figuring that out; what a giant intellect Me have!"  I doubt the Royal Fathead has figured out the next question:  if masks are not important, then why does everybody else in the White House want them?  The answer, when Rump figures it out:  "They're only trying to make Me look bad!  Me am surrounded by enemies!"  So the Rump moves in a circle, with Me always at the center.  What an end for our country.  5/14/20

How would it be if anyone who doesn't wear a mask -- exercising their God given right to be an antisocial dumbass; you know, like Rump -- is denied medical care at public facilities, and is taxed to contribute to the medical costs of people who tried to protect themselves but were swamped by the antisocial dumbasses; you know, like Rump?  5/7/20


In MI today, a Rumpsucker shot a store guard to death because he wouldn't let her in the store without a face mask.  Our cowardly, bullying God Emperor has finally killed an American by proxy.  I bet he feels great!  Will someone tell him to shut up, that enough of him is more than enough!  5/3/20


August De Morgan, a mathematician and all-round thinker, repeated a parodical catechism against the British government which we can parody again:  "What is my duty towards the Fake President? My duty towards Rump is, to trust him as much as I can; to honor him with all my words, with all my bows and scrapes, and with all my cringes; to flatter him; to give him thanks; to give up my whole soul to him; to idolize his name, and obey his word, and serve him blindly all the days of his political life."  The author of the original parody was tried, ineffectually, by the British government over two hundred years ago.  How sad that America is now in a condition where the parody applies again.  4/19/20


Rump wants to bully Congress and appoint Rumpsuckers to offices by himself.  He can't legally do this, but do you think the law, or a court, will stop him -- or that he will obey any law he doesn't like -- or will even allow the next election if he gets too scared?  Goodbye, America.  4/15/20

TotalitarianRUMP wouldn't answer a reporter's question about delay because the month of delay will cost about 30,000 American lives.  That's ten Twin Towers worth of death because fake senator McConnell was pandering to Rump.  Ten times the deaths.  At the end of this, both Rump and McConnell should be locked up.  4/14/20


Would Rump have got any votes at all if he had run on the platform "A President Has Total Authority"?  There are many things Rump is "total" of:  boob, idiot, ninny, clown, laughingstock, paranoid, delusional, dunderhead, jerk -- but "total authority"?  Never.  Lock him up.  4/13/20

Mark Twain wrote about a speech by Senator William Clark:  "I have never seen anything of the sort that could remotely approach the assfulness and complacency of this coarse and vulgar and incomparably ignorant peasant's glorification of himself."  Oh, to hear Twain about Rump!  4/12/20

Three things.  1, Bloomberg is campaigning in the Confederacy.  Haw haw haw haw haw.  2, I am so tired of anti-science people taking the benefits of medicine while refusing to acknowledge that they are doing.  I happened to be sitting in an IV center last week when an old lady kept saying "Prayer works, prayer works, prayer works."  I held back from asking her what she was doing in a medical facility.  She also was annoyed that minorities today are rude, compared to the days of her childhood -- I'm guessing the '40s or '50s.  It's beyond me why anybody would object to a bunch of Americans demanding the rights of Americans -- unless the objectors don't really care about America, but only about their creature comforts.  If these ignoramuses won't accept the theories of science, then I say let them heal themselves, without leeching off of scientists and rational people.  3, I am so tired of "centrist" Democrats working against Sanders or Warren (my personal preference this year) because they will pull the party left of the mainstream.  It's those "centrists" who have for decades compromised with Republicans, who have then moved further to the right, only to be followed further right by "centrists."  The result is, America has ended up (or maybe just plain ended) with the stupid unteachable boob, whom you would throw out of your house if he acted that way there.  There has never been a better time for the "centrists" to cater to the "left wing" of the Democratic party; you know, the people who believe in education, science, personal rights, labor rights, and so on.  Who would vote for Trump if the choice were a rational person?  Any rational person?  Come on, left wing!  3/3/20


It's not precisely fun to watch the Democratic candidates attack each other.  They are giving Rump ammo for attacking the eventual candidate, whoever that is.  And while the Dems are making the party weaker, Rump is openly preparing to stay in office even if a Dem wins in November.  Rump may declare a national emergency and avoid an election at all, and he gives every sign that he will simply call an election fraudulent if he loses; that if the count of electoral votes in the House does not favor him, he will declare the result crooked, and refuse to honor it; and that if the Supreme Court rules against him, he will declare the decision crooked, and refuse to honor it.  How many battalions do the House or Supreme Court give orders to?  2/25/20


Our president is insane.  This insane person has access to the world's biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons.  Can we focus on that?  2/21/20


Sanders' health records.  He promised to release them in entirety.  Now he says he won't, that he's released as much as any other candidate.  He's gone from being the best of the best, to matching the worst of the worst.  And he's not saying why.  He's acting like Trump.  To hell with him.  --  The same as to Bloomberg.  One rich guy buying his way into office is more than enough.  Can we have a normal candidate?  --  And can we have a candidate who isn't a paranoid tantrumming brat?  2/19/20


Thank you, Adam Jed, Jonathan Kravis, Michael Marando, and Aaron Zelinsky, for being examples of what honorable men should do when Trump acts like a dictator.  You have earned an honorable place in history.  Barr, however, is another Bork, who will pass into obscure infamy.  2/11/20


So.  For a while I used Twitter, but now I'm back.  I'd rather write properly for a very small audience, than write badly for a readership count.  I write only for my own satisfaction anyway, so here I stand, and choose to do no other.  The news today is the resignation of three or more federal prosecutors from either the Roger Stone case, or from their jobs, because Attorney General Barr is playing his part of a Rumpsucker more accurately.  Decent people cannot work for Rump, and if you do work for him, it proves you are not a decent person.  Not honorable.  Not honest.  A leech on the body politic.  A Rumpsucker.  The Rump cult must be removed from power, permanently.  2/11/20


Something I wrote in 2015, when Trump was only a bloat on the horizon, makes me better understand his mass appeal.  I wrote that "lying around doing as little as possible, with your main mental activity being gossiping about your neighbors, is a very attractive life.  I call that village living....  Most people can piggyback on the work of smart people, but their goal is still to lie around gossiping about their neighbors."  I think that's why so many people put up with Trump's rudeness, stupidity, ignorance, meanness, selfishness, and general craziness -- not because they like him, or would accept such behavior by him at a family gathering -- but because he gives them permission to stop thinking, to fill their time with gossip and lies, to act like children.  He asks very little of citizens, and he asks for nothing that requires thought.  His cultists are in a permanent state of being blessed.  12/29/19

"I'm a victim, it's a hoax, no due process" squealed Whinoceros Trump during the House hearings.  The House is like a grand jury, the Senate like a jury.  Now the Whinoceros is conspiring to avoid a Senate trial on the merits.  "Keep due process away from me!"  What a faker.  What a failure as a human being.  12/16/19

During the House impeachment hearings, Trump said he didn't get due process, but actually he did everything to evade due process.  First he said the hearings were unfair because he couldn't give evidence, then he said he wouldn't give evidence because the hearings were unfair.  That's as close to reasoning as Trump gets.  Now that the impeachment will move to the Senate, Trump doesn't want The People to get due process, although The People are the point of America, and are the ones for whom due process was designed.  Trump has been lying that the evidence in the House was hearsay, but now he wants the Senate to hear no witnesses at all, only hearsay from lawyers about what happened in the House.  Trump is desperately afraid of a real trial.  If he gets this gift from the Senate, who will protect the Senate itself from Trump's next power grab?  More importantly, who will be be left to protect The People?  12/12/19

Trump's fake pic of himself as Rocky.  There hasn't been such pretense in 3500 years, since female Pharaoh Hatshepsut put up statues of herself with a beard.  What a coincidence--she too was pretending to be a man!  11/28/19

Trump's brain is pure mush.  On November 16, 2019, he complained about the Congressional impeachment hearings:  "Nobody’s ever had such horrible due process.  There was no due process....  The Republicans are given no due process whatsoever."  In other words, Trump complained, as he has been doing, that he's not getting the rights he deserves in a legal process.  Then idiot boy cut off his own feet, and the feet of all of his minions who have been repeating his "lack of due process" mantra, by adding "...by the way, it's a political process, it’s not a legal process."  Of course, in a political process, he has no due process rights -- so all of his earlier whining is self-contradictory garbage, and everyone who has been whining "no due process" just had their feet cut off too.  There has surely never been a president so incapable of understanding or defending the situation he is in.  He is a schlemiel, and that's how history will remember him:  President Schlemiel.  11/17/19

Trump confuses power with right.  He has power to appoint, but no right to appoint clowns and criminals to public office.  This is hard for Trumpites to understand.  It is easy for everyone else.  A parent has power to hire babysitters, but not to hire serial killers for the job.  Trump has been hiring clowns and criminals, and combinations of such like Giuliani, and Trumpite congressmen keep asking witnesses if Trump has the power to do a thing -- but never if he had the right.  Trumpites do tend to have large gaps in their mental processes, don't they?  11/15/19


M-artha McSally emailed asking my wife for support.  McSally used to be a good military officer but is now a politician, average at best, though the Arizona Republican establishment likes her so much that they've appointed her to an office after she's lost two elections.  My wife has previously written her low opinion to McSally after getting letters wanting money.  Somebody in McSally's office isn't reading her emails from constituents -- pretending to care what constituents tell you is a hack political trick -- so after getting another letter asking for support, my wife emailed this to McSally:  "Ms. McSally, you ARE desperate if you're emailing me. I've resisted writing to you for months because I feel so negative about you and your campaign, and didn't want to be hateful. But you emailed me, so here goes. I hope Mark Kelly takes John McCain's seat in the Senate. Yes, McCain's seat because it certainly isn't one you earned. Politicians in your party GAVE it to you even after voters told you 'no.' Ever since you were elected to the House a few years ago, you've been a tRump sellout, an embarrassment to people who value honesty, compassion, integrity, and the United States of America. Your voting to divert Fort Huachuca money to build that shameful wall is one example. I admired your accomplishments in your earlier life, but I loathe your politics and your self-promotion. You're a loser, Ms. McSally, to both Mr. Barber and to Ms. Sinema, and I fervently hope you'll lose to Mr. Kelly. I donate monthly to Mark Kelly's political campaign, and will continue to do so as long as he's running for office. If he sets up headquarters in Sierra Vista, I'll volunteer. I will vote for him and urge others to do the same. His ethics reflect mine, yours don't. Mark Kelly, and others like him, might save this country."  10/26/19

The entire opinion by Judge Howell, beautifully applying the law! What a welcome rest from Trump's tantrums:
https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/2328-howell-ruling-on-mueller-grand/18a7d1524758e425ad31/optimized/full.pdf
10/26/19



I've read two authoritative summaries of the law about criminal proceedings against a president still in office -- the 1973 opinion about Nixon at
   https://fas.org/irp/agency/doj/olc/092473.pdf
and the 2000 opinion about Clinton at
   https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/olc/opinions/2000/10/31/op-olc-v024-p0222_0.pdf
-- and both opinions give deference to the presidency as George Washington conceived it:  the "duties of my Office ... at all times ... require an unremitting attention" (p. 247 in the 2000 opinion).  Both opinions give great thought to the effect of an ongoing criminal case on a president's ability to do his job.  Trump, however, operates in a way which Washington would not recognize.  He spends much of his time watching pro-Trump television, using Twitter, and conducting political rallies; and if ordered to produce his tax records, he would probably increase such activities.  He cannot credibly argue that producing tax documents would cut into his duties.  This changes the factors which the court in the tax case must weigh.  I hope the plaintiffs bring this to the court's attention eloquently.
  10/24/19

Here are the states and cities suing Trump to stop His Royal Majesty's decree overriding state laws about auto emission standards: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, Los Angeles, New York City, and the District Of Columbia. Here's the complaint -- https://oag.ca.gov/system/files/attachments/press_releases/California%20v.%20Chao%20complaint%20(00000002).pdf -- and it will be interesting to see how people discuss the legal issues.  9/20/19


Trump keeps his hair a different color than his skin, so when a picture of him is taken from above, you can process the pic to more accurately separate hair from skin, and as Trump's head gets pinker, the little yellow hairs fade and reveal the baldness below. Here's a pic showing half of Trump's real bald spot:

You may also notice how he doesn't put orange makeup around his eyes or in his ears.

-- How much time he must take to create the illusion of having hair! (For the unprocessed pic, see https://sports.yahoo.com/dear-president-trump-please-never-tweet-soccer-021330153.html ). This explains why Trump's daughter Ivanka laughs at his very elaborate fake hairdo; see https://nypost.com/2018/01/03/trumps-bizarre-hairdo-finally-explained/ .  7/16/19



Concentration camps.  My God.  Hitler did this.  We beat him.  When did we invite his ghost to haunt the White House?  How can anyone be neutral?  Either your heart must rejoice at the chance to bully and degrade little children, or your heart must cry at what is being done in our name.  And can anyone be surprised that Trump did this?  He is a personal coward, and his entire public life consists of bullying the weaker.  These children were an easy target for him. What group that cannot resist will be next?  6/24/19



Donald Trump comes for dinner at Jon Voight's house
JV: Good evening, Mr. President. (Looking out the window) Isn't this a fine afternoon?
DT: You're lying, it's dark and stormy.
JV: (JV looks out window, sees sunshine.) You're right, sir. Will you have an appetizer?
DT: No, your food is garbage.
JV: You're right, sir. Would you like some fast food?
DT: Yes I would. I also like competent hosts, you loser.
JV: You're right, sir. Meanwhile, would you like to mingle?
DT: Yes I would, if they give me compliments.
JV: Mr. Guest, meet your favorite president.
Guest: He's not my favorite president.
DT: Get this traitor out of here, and rough him up a little.
JV: Of course, sir, you're right, sir, your wish is law. (Guest is hustled out; fast food arrives.) Here's the food you asked for.
DT: I didn't ask for this.
JV: Yes you did.
DT: No I didn't. You're a liar.
JV: You're right, sir, I am a liar.
(DT eats his food like a pig, belches, slobbers, wipes his mouth with his tie, passes gas.)
JV: Umm, smells sweet, sir.
DT: It seems so to me, too. But enough about me, what do you think about me?  5/26/19



Joe Biden is a fool. He is attacking Democrats who understand that you cannot work with an insane thug. He is doing Trump's work. Say no to Joe.  5/19/19


Trump thinks he's tough. There are tougher people. In 1961, John Lewis, now in Congress, was on a Freedom Ride bus into Montgomery, Alabama. Everyone knew there would be a riot. at the terminal. John Lewis was the first off the bus. Does Trump, a baby, really think he can scare John Lewis, a man? 4/24/19


Trump has moved to telling federal employees to disobey some laws.  Will he next move to telling them that if they are convicted of a crime, he will pardon them?  And in the 2020 election, if he loses, will he say the result is a fake generated by the crimes of his opponents, and refuse to leave office?  4/24/19



By declaring a national emergency, Trump can create a real one.
     https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/presidential-emergency-powers/576418/
2/14/19


The Democratic honchos in Congress seem to be willing to give Trump something between $1 and $2 billion for his wall, but the offer of less than he wants is just making Trump throw more and louder tantrums. The honchos should know by now that Trump isn't basing his demand on reality, he's just throwing his weight around -- and whatever you give him, he wants more. The only way to shut him up is to give him absolutely nothing. No money for the wall. Not a penny. Suck it up, Ms. Pelosi, or you will be guaranteeing two more years like the hell we just had. Stifle Trump now.  2/11/19

SOS. Impeach Trump now. Trump wants to withdraw from NATO. He may not know that NATO is the reason that the USSR lost the old Cold War, and none of us may ever learn how Putin bullied Trump in their meetings, which Trump is keeping secret from Americans. It's no secret that Trump is a personal coward, and when facing really tough people like Putin, Trump is incapable of protecting America. SOS. Impeach now.  1/15/19


Our presidential turkey versus the nation of Turkey. On December 19, 2018, Trump said we had beaten ISIS in Syria, so "our boys, our young women, our men, they’re all coming back and they’re coming back now;" later he changed to four months; then to, no specific time; and just three days ago, he denied his original statement: "No different from my original statements, we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS". From "we won, we'll leave now" to "we'll fight more, leave someday" in three weeks! He's not fooling anyone -- and a new war may result from his words. Turkey and other countries in the mideast have many members of an ethnic group called Kurds, but Kurds don't have a country of their own, and many Kurds are willing to fight to get one. Syrian Kurds are our allies in the war there, but Turkey does not want Kurdish fighters anywhere near, and on January 10 Turkey said that if America DOESN'T leave Syria as Trump said in December, Turkey will invade Syria to attack the Kurds. See https://www.aljazeera.com/…/turkey-launch-syria-attack-dela… . How did Trump respond? Why, he backed down, of course, and now immediate withdrawal is on again -- until somebody else says something even scarier to Trump. The presidency is not a good job for a cowardly bully.  1/12/19


Nothing to see here, move along.  Trump remains a nut job, coward, gasbag, bully, dummy, traitor, thief, pig in personal habits, serial adulterer, and all-round fool.  In other words:  our president was the same today as every other day.  No news.  12/21/18


A president is impeached for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." Impeachment isn't for statutory offenses like speeding or bank robbery. Yet Trump's lickspittles -- those who can still stand him -- are dancing around details of violations of this or that ordinary statute. They have been reduced from repeating Trump's "it didn't happen" to apologizing for the details of how it happened. Their yapping is a mere irrelevant diversion from why Trump should be impeached: because his entire policy of public life, including his time as president, has been to commit treason and pervert America's entire structure for his personal benefit.  12/17/18

Trump's latest claim of defenses is idiotic. First, we already know how he plays with words; in Trumpland, saying "I never directed my attorney to break the law" only means that Trump didn't use those exact words when he spoke to his attorney. Second, Trump's claim of "advice of counsel" has greatly broadened the scope of questions that can be asked him, and reduced the defenses available to him. An "advice of counsel" defense basically waives confidentiality for the attorney's advice, and ignorance or mistake of the law is not a good defense against criminal charges. Trump must prove that he was ignorant or mistaken about what was going on, but his instructions to proceed with the payoff are very good evidence that he knew exactly what was going on. Trump is a lawyer's nightmare client: he keeps making things worse for himself because he insists on saying and doing whatever he wants to, no matter what advice he receives. At this point, the best defense Trump has is insanity. And this stupid, unstable, incompetent loon is steadily tearing America apart, and can instantly start a nuclear war.  12/13/18


In response to the increasing scare tactics out of our fake president's chubby cake hole, here's a quote from What's a Woman Doing Here?, by Dickey Chapelle, a war photographer who was killed in Vietnam. The quote is from a Marine on Okinawa: "Sure they can kill you. But -- that's -- all -- they can do. Only you can frighten you." The whole book is free online at https://archive.org/stream/whatsawomandoing013581mbp/whatsawomandoing013581mbp_djvu.txt.  It's hard to see how it's out of print.  12/4/18


There are new federal guidelines for employees to avoid political speech or conduct at work -- see https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/500-osc-hatch-act-advisory-novembe/6255daba98ab1a42d079/optimized/full.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0GCuOnKnFG9xBb9B2gyEo_jHgzaMU_-sbg8sP-f9f9bofdlWxoTgoiTQ4#page=1  -- and there's a problem with them.  Three numbered paragraphs, with the first two stating accurately the general principles of what's prohibited, but with the third giving examples of only one kind of speech: anti-Trump. If you oppose Trump, your speech is subject to specific prohibitions; but if you support Trump, all you see is generalities. It's like a teacher coming into the schoolyard during a fight and telling Jimmy and John that fighting is wrong -- and adding "John, you can't do thus and so." Jimmy and John both know that the teacher is Jimmy's friend and John's enemy. Everyone can see how Hatch Act enforcement is rigged, too.  11/30/18

Two correctives to Herr Drumpf's whining about the federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  First, when Trump claims the 9th Circuit reversal rate is 80%, he means 80% of cases that reach the Supreme Court -- not of all cases decided in the Circuit.  Roughly, of cases decided in the Circuit, about 1 in 1000 gets to the Supreme Court, so only about 1 in 1250 is overturned there.  That's not much different from any other Circuit, and it's not a reason to run in circles, scream, and shout.  Second, Republicans have ensured that conservatives control the Court.  Trump has done his worst to appoint only true believers (despite obvious corruption), while President Obama couldn't even get a hearing on a nominee in his last year.  So when Trump complains about the 9th Circuit, he's only arguing that 9th Circuit judges often disagree with his egomaniacal wishes.  That is not an argument for changing the structure of American government.  11/21/18

Before Herr Drumpf was elected, he bragged that he was so popular he could get away with committing murder in broad daylight.  Since being elected, he doesn't separate the country's interests from his own business interests.  Since the midterm election, he's spreading his wings wider.  Now he's willing to ignore the murder of a journalist, paid for by Trump's Saudi friend, because his friend is good for U.S. business.   Will anyone really be surprised if Trump works himself up to condoning murder, using presidential power, to further his personal interests?  11/20/18

As to Herr Drumpf's attempt to keep a reporter (Jim Acosta) he doesn't like out of the White House press conferences, Trump has lost.  The CNN brief in the was great.  Thanks to David Morgan, journalist of Sierra Vista AZ, for this link:
https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5096185-Temporary-Restraining-Order.html
And after empty threats to renew the Acosta ban as soon as the judge's first order ran out -- an order which would certainly have led to a finding of contempt against the White House -- Trump has backed down and will obey the judge.

Of course, Trump won't acknowledge that when he fought the law, the law won.  He's already preparing future harassment.  He wants to kick out reporters who aren't "respectful" according to rules his toadies draw up.  Of course, Trump is an insecure, stupid madman who thinks that any challenge to His Divine Incoherence is disrespectful, so what he's really after is to keep a free press away from him so that his delusions can't be challenged -- and he thinks this will work.  A free country should answer "Lock him up!"  11/19/18



Things I think about when conservatives demonize liberals
...Conservatives didn't join the American Revolution....Conservatives didn't oppose slavery.
...Conservatives opposed voting for women.
...Conservatives hated President Franklin Roosevelt, without whom the country would have fallen apart.
...Conservatives hated Social Security.
...Conservatives hated American support for England before we got into World War II.
...Conservatives opposed the GI Bill.
...Conservatives supported Joe McCarthy.
...Conservatives opposed civil rights.
...Conservatives cheered when President Kennedy was shot.
...Conservatives opposed Head Start and Medicare.
...Conservatives hate public education. They want "charter schools" and home schooling, so that Americans will not share the same history.
...Conservatives hate separation of church and state. They want to use public money to pay for preaching and teaching their religion.
...Conservatives hate free speech for anyone but conservatives.
...Conservatives want us all to focus on hate. They are experts in using prejudice and lies to set Americans against each other.
...Liberals can be proud of who we are.  5/4/18



Trump, the Olmec Baby

Did Mexico already give Trump the treatment he deserves, 3000 years ahead of his time? https://i.pinimg.com/474x/1b/a5/5b/1ba55bcbcfba7ec77a1e10c14b18c16b--ancient-artifacts-metropolitan-museum.jpg?fbclid=IwAR3SSPJMDyKM5rItyDkXwJ8y21Q5OMu0IxcmOJhoL2ELf7jHB3yDpSqA7ts

The missing foot on this Olmec statue may reflect magical advance knowledge of Trump's magical bone spur. The position of the hand may indicate that Trump picks his nose and eats it.  11/10/18


Wanted:  a proposed Constitutional amendment that in the Senate, the Vice President have no vote, and that a bill fail upon a tie.  3/30/17



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